Even among Conservative voters, a new Nanos poll shows very strong support in Canada for political parties to solve the homeless crisis and to build more affordable housing, just as prime minister Justin Trudeau announces a Sept. 20 election.
Nearly 80% of Canadians would be more supportive of a political party that proposes concrete actions to end homelessness, and more than eight in 10 support some investment in affordable housing, according to a new poll by Nanos Research.
“The results of this poll show that public opinion is squarely with us,” says Tim Richter, president and CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, during an online presentation of the results Aug. 11.
“What people want is action. Less politics, more action,” said Nik Nanos of Nanos Research. “This is an issue that cuts across parties, generations, gender, it cuts across regions.”
The survey was conducted online and by telephone with 1002 randomly selected people aged 18 and over between July 30 and Aug. 2. Itwas commissioned by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and was released as part of its Vote Housing campaign.
The results provide four key highlights. First, more than seven in 10 Canadians polled believe there is an urgent need to end homelessness and invest in affordable housing.
Second, more than eight in 10 of the people surveyed support or somewhat support investments in building affordable housing.
It also revealed that nearly 80% of poll participants say they would be more or somewhat more supportive of a political party that proposes concrete action to end homelessness and build affordable housing in this country.
Finally, the poll showed that 5% of Canadians say they are worried about not being able to pay next month’s housing costs. An additional 10% said they were somewhat worried about making housing costs.
Putting the data into perspective, Nanos said that although it may seem like a small percentage, it represents nearly 5 million Canadian who are worried about having enough money to pay for their housing.
Although the Vote Housing awareness campaign is non-partisan, the survey data were divided according to the political allegiances of the respondents, the poll revealed.
“If you happen to be a voter [for] the New Democrats [or] the Liberals, you can see that level of urgency is exceptionally high.” Nanos notes. “And even among Conservatives, yes, it’s lower, but the key takeaway is that more than one out of two conservative voters, or likely conservative voters, still believe that it’s urgent to end homelessness.
Nanos also noted that three-quarters of undecided voters would support candidates and parties who propose concrete actions to address homelessness and affordable housing. For parties looking to attract those electors, Nanos says, “one easy way to connect with those swing voters would be to engage on this topic.”
Hope for the next election
With the federal election announced yesterday (Aug. 15), and a vote to be held September 20, the poll could hardly be timelier.
According to Richter, “I think we’ll be pleasantly surprised to see the housing platforms coming out from all parties. The conversations we had with all parties are very different than the conversations we would have even had in the last election about housing.”
During the survey presentation, Richter noted that homelessness and housing needs in Canada have arisen as a result of federal policies, and that ending the problems requires a change in policies.
“We have to get engaged in the political process and we have to make sure that politicians of all parties see and hear from Canadians that ending homelessness and addressing Canada’s housing crisis are key priorities,” he said.
“Change doesn’t happen because it ought to happen. Change only happens because we make it happen.”
The survey has a margin of error plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The full results, including regional, gender and political breakdowns, can be found here.